Fri | Dec 15, 2017

More 'Dudus' heat - New York Times hones in on extradition case

Published:Tuesday | April 27, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Mounting pressure from a number of leading media entities in the United States on the extradition request for Tivoli Gardens strong-man Christopher 'Dudus' Coke is doing serious damage to the Bruce Golding administration's legitimacy, the Opposition has declared.

Reacting to the latest article published by an American newspaper, Opposition Spokesman on National Security Peter Bunting said yesterday that "it really has some sinister implications".

Bunting's comments came against the background of a New York Times article published online Sunday, which identified Coke as a "powerful player in Jamaican politics, so much so that the US State Department's attempt to extradite him has rattled relations between the United States and Jamaica".

Bunting has also insisted that the prime minister "come clean" on the Manatt, Phelps and Phillips affair, which has remained a thorn in the flesh of the administration. "I don't think he can run from this issue forever, and we will continue to up the ante in Parliament," Bunting said.

The New York Times joined a number of other respected media entities in North America, such as The Washington Post and The Economist, and the Toronto Globe and Mail in Canada, to weigh in on a story that has ignited a flaming debate on the Coke extradition and Manatt sagas.

Golding is expected, two weeks from now, to answer questions in Parliament on the reported contractual arrangement between the Government and the US law firm, which had been posted on the US Department of Justice website. Manatt pulled out of the contract in February, indicating that it no longer represented the Government of Jamaica in treaty matters.

Government to respond

General secretary of the Jamaica Labour Party and senior government minister, Karl Samuda, in a terse comment yesterday, said the administration would respond to the issue shortly.

In a related matter, Bunting told The Gleaner yesterday that the legal team of the People's National Party (PNP) was ready to address the motion filed by Attorney General Dorothy Lightbourne seeking a decla-ration on the handling of the extradition request for Coke. The attorney general wants the court to declare what she can take into account in deciding to issue the authority to proceed in extradition matters.

In her capacity as president of the PNP, Portia Simpson Miller was named as the third defendant because she reportedly ques-tioned the minister's authority to decline the extradition request.

Coke has been named as a defendant because he is the person in the extradition request, while Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica President Joseph M. Matalon has been named as second defendant because the organisation he represents questioned the right or authority of the minister to decline the extradition request. The hearing has been set for May 5.